Part 12: Important information
12.1.0 What else is important for me to know about HCV?
Medical research and acceptance of the illness will develop only if our national support organizations which promote them are strong. Be sure to support your national groups, and when your national group calls for letters and phone calls to be sent to public officials and media, please get your family and friends to assist you in responding to those requests. We may be able to make greater achievements if we act in unison.
In the USA, the largest source of research money comes from government allocations. Therefore, contacting your Congressman about the importance of hepatitis research is very important.
Did you know...
“WHO estimates that about 170 million people, 3% of the world’s population, are chronically infected with HCV,” and 3 to 4 million persons are newly infected each year." (www.who.int/inf-fs/en/fact164.html)
In the USA:
- 28.5 times MORE people are infected with Hepatitis viruses than with HIV.
- 150,000 - 180,000 new cases of Hepatitis C are expected this year.
- 200,000 - 250,000 new cases of Hepatitis B are expected this year.
- 40,000 new cases of HIV are expected this year.
- The number of new HCV infections per year has declined from an average of 240,000 in the 1980s to about 26,000 in 2004. (www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/hepatitis/c/fact.htm)
Since close to 4 million people in the U.S. have HCV, it is the most prevalent chronic viral infection in the United States, and possibly the world.
According to the Canadian Liver Foundation (CLF), hepatitis C affects about 300,000 Canadians and that number is expected to double by 2008.
The disease affects less than 1% of the population in Australia, Canada, and northern Europe, and increases to a frightening 60% in the population over 30 in the Nile delta of Egypt.
IV drug use may account for up to 90% of new infections.
Standard treatment successfully treats only a few HCV patients, since many are not eligible for treatment or cannot tolerate it. Many doctors are not happy with treatment, which they see as too expensive, and as carrying too many side effects. Remember, to the drug companies, profits are the first objective, so question all statistics carefully.
HCV is the leading indication for liver transplants.
According to the New York Blood Center, as many as 25% of people receiving blood transfusions in the early 1960s were being infected with contagious diseases and the majority were infected with hepatitis.
Many hepatitis C cases result from unknown sources. This means someone does not have to be among the high-risk groups to become infected with the virus.
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